COVID-19, the novel coronavirus that has reached pandemic proportions, presents a dire public health emergency. Florida faces this challenge with significant disadvantages. Our state has failed to expand Medicaid, leaving us with the country’s fourth-highest rate of uninsured (13%). At the same time, Florida has one of the highest proportions of residents 60 and older in the nation (over 25%) and many live at or near poverty.
In Miami-Dade County, a COVID-19 hotspot, one in five elders are below the federal poverty level. Further, thousands are on waitlists for home health services, without which they are acutely vulnerable to the present dangers of institutionalization. Additionally, two million state residents live in mixed immigrant families that may be afraid of accessing public healthcare because of new immigration rules. Florida Health Justice Project is advocating aggressively on behalf of those most at risk.